the weather; it is the primary mode of being (not just expressing)rnwho wc are. To grow up speaking a language is to becomerna Hving artifact of the culture produced by the speakers of thatrnlanguage. An American who lives abroad long enough to learnrna new language begins to realize that he can think and speakrnthings in, say, Russian or French, that he simply cannot say inrnEnglish. For generations immigrants to the United States havernhad to watch their children growing up as foreigners, not sornmuch because thev were adopting American customs and attitudesrnas because in failing to speak Italian or Polish, they couldrnnever develop the patterns of thought that would enable themrnto communicate with their parents.rnThe Quebecois would like to remain who they arc, and arernnot particularly interested in the liberal English view of fair playrnor reciprocity. They would not be satisfied by a single federalrnlaw guaranteeing each province the right to determine its ownrnlanguage. In the first place, there are millions of French-speakersrnin Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, and for themrnbilingualism is the only protection against British Canadian arrogance.rnMore importantly, Canada is the result of an agreementrnbetween French Quebec and English Ontario. Nowrnthere are ten provinces, and by the language and theory of liberalism,rnthe nine Anglophone provinces have the right to vetornnot just independence but virtually any mo’e toward selfdeterminationrntaken bv Quebec. The Quebecois reject thernpremise.rnMv last dav in Quebec City, it is snowing, and I go with myrnshi’ering Southern friends to the Plains of Abraham, where Irnruin my shoes walking tlie ground where Montcalm and Wolfernhad their fatal encounter more than 200 years ago. On the way,rnwe pass the Quebec pariiament building, where only the fleursde-rnlys of French Quebec is flving, with no sign of the MaplernLeaf rag. As years went by, the English were mild conquerors,rnperhaps because we Americans taught them a few lessonsrnabout empire in the 1770’s. But there is something about thernEnglishman that does not like foreigners, does not see the needrnfor their existence. General Wolfe had been at Culloden,rnwhere the hope for Scottish liberty was extinguished, and in thernvears after Culloden, the English practiced cultural genocidernagainst the Scots, a game thev had been playing in Ireland sincernthe 15th century, at least. By a cruel irony, it was the ScotsrnHighlanders who gave Wolfe his victory at Quebec. The humorrnof the Auld Alliance was maintained bv the ChevalierrnJohnstone, Montcalm’s Jacobite aide.rnNot far from the monument to the Marquis de Montcalm,rnthere is an equestrian statue of Joan of Arc. Joan, too, had livedrnunder English domination, and she had rallied her people torndrive out the conqueror and recover their identity. The English,rnnot content with capturing and executing the maid,rnsmeared her as a strumpet and burned her at the stake as arnwitch. In years to come, they would give Napoleon the samerntreatment, and British propaganda during World War I—arncampaign in which many leading English writers played arnshameful part—dcmonized the Germans as savages. Not allrniLnglishmen have been chauvinists. When Walter Scott (albeitrna Scot) wrote a fair-minded biography of Napoleon, Englishrnpublic opinion went along, and Thomas Hardy was not the on-rn1′ English writer to point out that English farmers were Anglo-rnSaxon kinsmen of the Germans the’ were told to kill. It is timernfor Anglo-Americans, in Canada and the United States, tornmake up their minds once and for all that the French arc inrnQuebec to stay, because it is their country, and they have thernright to do anything they like in it and with it, and if they wantrnto ruin themseK’es with socialism, that is also their right.rnIn America, we talk a good game about cultural diversity, butrnonly when it is some Third World culture that can be used tornundermine the ruins of our own. In other cases—Serbs andrnCroats, Ulster Catholics and Ulster Protestants—we are horrifiedrnby anv vigorous expression of national character. Even thernQuebecois, whose national party is far to the left of our ownrnDemocrats, have not been immune to the accusations of xenophobia,rnand when Jacques Parizeau made a completely accuraternstatement that Quebec would have been independent, butrnfor the votes of immigrants and Indians, he was forced to resignrnas Premier of Quebec, for fear of offending international opinion.rnApparently, we moderns do not like to think that there isrnany group from which we might be excluded. When I was arnchild, I went through phases of wishing I were Jewish or Greek,rnbut in later years I began to appreciate the otherness of otherrnpeople, realizing that with some hard study and an indifferencernto ridicule I might hope to become a welcome alien among thernpeoples I admired. But I also came to realize that the vain ambitionrnto join, if only temporarily, another society was tantamountrnto wishing the extinction of that society. No amount ofrnstud}” or legal paperwork could turn me into a genuine Frenchman,rnand our own mass naturalizations have all the efficacy ofrna Moonie wedding.rnHell, according to the solipsist, is other people. The worldrnwould be a perfect place without all those aliens, those rivals forrnattention, who interrupt my thoughts w ith their greedy strivingrnto take some bit of what is mine, with their bigoted insistencernon having a perspective that is not perfectly congruent with myrnown. The Creator’s big mistake (or should I say my mistake?)rnwas in not leaving well enough alone, once He had created thernperfect man. Eve—the original other person—spoiled the gardenrnof Eden by introducing an alternative point of iew. Whatrnthe Puritan wrote in jest.rnTwo paradises ’twere in onernTo live in paradise alonernsolipsists can say in earnest, and some of them, not contentrnwith shutting their eyes to the reality of other people, have takenrnthe practical step of eliminating the evidence that contradictsrntheir point of view. Murder is the refutation of contradiction,rnan annihilation of the other that leaves one lessrnfirst-person singular in the world.rnThe social analogue for solipsism can be found in all the ideologies,rnwhether national, polihcal, or religious, that deny existentialrnstatus to their rivals. If one belongs to a master race,rnthen all other races must be subjugated or eliminated; ifrnprogress depends on class consciousness and industrial development,rnas Marx and Engels believed, then the extermination ofrnregressive nations, such as the Highland Scots or the Jews, is justifiable;rnand if paradise is a San Diego shopping mall, then norneffort or expense should be spared in dragging less developedrncultures into the global marketplace, “less developed” being anrnelastic term that can cover a !kung bushman, who has nothingrnto trade for the electronic glass-beads that multinational businessmenrnwould like to sell him, an Albanian shepherd, who believesrnthat it is a man’s business to revenge insults to his family,rnor a Slavophile Russian mathematician, who, at the funeral ofrnRussian cix-ilization, refuses to join the dry-eyed mourners spit-rnMARCH 1997/9rnrnrn